Man admits driving millions in drugs across border hidden in car

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SAN DIEGO — A San Ysidro resident who was arrested during a routine traffic stop when an Oceanside police officer discovered millions of dollars’ worth of methamphetamine and cocaine hidden inside his vehicle pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

Ricardo Lujan, 44, admitted Friday that he drove his vehicle with controlled substances from Mexico into the United States and that he intended to deliver the drugs to another person.

Lujan was arrested last Nov. 17 after the police officer discovered the drugs hidden inside the floorboards, door panels, center console and elsewhere in Lujan’s vehicle.

According to a federal complaint, the Oceanside police officer was conducting random vehicle registration checks about 12:40 a.m. on Harbor Drive.

The officer noticed a car with expired tags, then saw Lujan get into a Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV and try to drive off.

Lujan, the registered owner of the vehicle, appeared nervous after his car was pulled over but agreed to a search of the vehicle.

A Border Patrol canine handler responded to the scene, and the dog responded to the odor of drugs.

During a search of the vehicle, agents found 99 packages that were vacuum sealed in plastic containers of cocaine and 58 rectangular vacuum sealed containers of methamphetamine. The agents seized approximately 89.50 kilograms of cocaine — valued at $1.7 million — and 68.90 kilograms of methamphetamine, valued at $450,000.

Lujan faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced June 5.